UX TAMERLANE 203 upon the summit of the mound, they recognized whom they had to deal with, and Shah Kutb-u-din, the Prince of Sistan, despatched to my presence Shah-i-Shahan and Taj-u-din Sistani, who were the chief of all his leaders." Tate,1 who has made a plan of Zahidan, as the ruins are now termed, shows a mound close to the south angle of the walls, and there is little doubt it was from here that the Great Conqueror examined the city. Meanwhile the Sistanis, unaware of the hidden force and careless of the safety of their deputation, swarmed out of the city and advanced to the attack. The usual ruse of a feigned retreat and a surprise by the hidden troops drove the undisciplined peasantry back to their walls with heavy loss, but they had fought bravely and killed many of the enemy, whose horses they stabbed with their knives. Undismayed, the Sistanis next attempted a night attack, which at first caused some confusion,, but the disciplined troops rallied and inflicted terrible losses on the enemy. The city was then assaulted by the entire army, and its ruler, realizing that he could not hope to resist for very long, resolved to surrender. During the course of the negotiations Tamerlane set off with a small escort to visit one of his divisions. Again the Sistanis assailed him, climb- ing down from their battlements. This act of hostility provoked Tamerlane to order a fresh assault, and the city was taken. Its garrison was put to the sword, and its population was massacred. Its great area is now so desolate and lifeless that when I visited it the wonderful lines of Isaiah2 came to my mind : • " An habitation of dragons, and a court for owls. The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow.1* The Campaign in Northern Persia, A.H. 786 (1384).— In the year following the conquest of Sistan and the consolidation of his power in Khorasan, Tamerlane under- took what may be regarded as the first of his distant campaigns. Hitherto he had been operating in districts 1 Sistan, Parts I. to III. p. 55. This useful work is by G. P. Tate of the Survey Department of the Government of India. 2 Chap, xxxiv. 13, 14.